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StartSMILESMany people come up to me in the street and beg me to write about the truths, myths and unwise things said about Big Data. I am offered gifts of goats, partners and riches beyond the dreams of avarice just to pronounce on such things. I am not in the habit of bowing to such street-pressure, but I have finally come round to doing something, if only to placate the river of rose-petal bearing infants’ tears flowing past my abode.

Big Data is for everyone

As everyone knows, Big Data is for everyone. No longer is it the purview of the rich, powerful and internet connected, just like your own worst enemy, Big Data has come to town. No corner shop, hardware store or gin joint and bath house should be without it. In order for anyone to survive and thrive it absolutely essential that people book their place and get their tickets for the Big Data bandwagon. Have you got kids? Buy ‘em all a ticket. Buy ‘em two and save on a bulk order. Do they also have kids? Do you want your grandchildren to miss out? Get them a ride on the Big Data bandwagon as well. Don’t be a meanie, make free and easy with the Big Data love. They’ll thank you in the end. You don’t want your children, grand-children, and friends and family to despise you until you die a miserable and painful death, do you? And hate you even in your after-life? Of course not. SO buy into Big Data now. Whilst you can.

Of course, Big Data is not for everyone, and if you don’t happen to be anyone with lots of cash, then Big Data is definitely not for you. However, if you have some cash, but not so much, you can also donate it to a good cause that will spend it on Big Data. Whether it’s a Big Data project at the New College Annex for Fallen Ladies, the Bashar Al-Assad Donkey Sanctuary in Brighton or The Continental Swally Project at the People’s University of Paisley, you can be sure that it will be money well drunk spent.

That said, Big Data is for everyone and no one. This sounds contradictory, and I sort of agree up to a point, but then I have to disagree as well, because this is the inevitable outcome of having irrational rational, hype-laden sensible, incoherent coherent and bullshit professional discussions about Big Data, its worthlessness usefulness and its uselessness general utility.

Big Data is about lots of data

It’s universally known that Big Data is about lots of data, in fact it’s about more than lots of data, it’s about a lot of data variety, data volumes and data velocities. In essence it’s about lots and lots of data.

At the same time Big Data is not about lots of data at all, in fact, your Big Data could be sitting somewhere in a 16k text file on a long forgotten floppy disk. That can also be classified as Big Data.

That said, whichever way you want to call it, Big Data is what you define it to be. You want to call a tub of Lemon Sorbet a repository of Big Data? Then go ahead and do it! You go to the butchers and want to order a leg of Big Data, a pound of Big Data and a few fillets of Big Data, extra thin? Then go on, spit it out, no one can stop you, you’re well within your rights! So enjoy! And the next time a police officer stops you in your car and asks if you have been drinking just tell him this: “No officer, all I indulged in was a few pints of Big Data, with some Big Data chasers. With my Big Data mates down Ye Olde Bigge Data Taverne” And you’ll be all sorted.

Big Data will kill the Data Warehouse

It’s well known that Big Data will kill Data Warehousing as we know it. We have been hearing this for many years now. Even that marvelous Oaf Kindle is preaching the demise of Data Warehousing as Bill Inmon defined it and refined it – albeit for thirty pieces of cheap silver. But of course he would, wouldn’t he, that’s Rowlf’s shtick.

It’s also known that before Big Data skills Data Warehousing that it will need its blood. So, Data Warehousing will live and die, or die and live, or maybe not.

That stated, Data Warehousing might just come back with a vengeance and kill Big Data in its infancy and consign the armies of Big Data bullshit babblers to the dole queues. Oh, happy land! Oh, culture of contentment! O tempura, o morons! Oh, Shabu-shabu, baby!

Watch this space and especially some very interesting and up-coming publication activity. Don’t worry, you’ll know, when it happens.

Big Data does away for the need for Statisticians

As everyone knows, sea-change inflection-point envelope-pushing deep-data-analytics can now be carried out with a fresher with a passing acquaintance with Java with access to bootleg copy of the O’Really Library of Biggie´s Big Data Stash – Biggie In The House, Yo! This means that Statisticians are no longer needed, and neither are programmers, database architects, analysts, or any of that unnecessary overhead from bye gone socialist-communist-pinko-liberal days.

That said, where would we put all the people who would be made unemployed and unemployable with the advent of Big Data and DIY stats? Maybe we need to revisit the Big Data recipe book, and maybe we should put data on a Mediterranean diet, especially after it’s passage through the culinary hands of max-sugar-and-alcohol purveyors, super-sized-heart-attack-on-a-plate artists and stuff-your-face-with-all-the-meat-and-lard-you-can-eat practitioners.

Maybe it will be best to compromise. Assign work based on a Big Data random distribution and partition function, then multiply that by three (or more), Hadoop style. Built in redundancy to avoid so much redundancy. The big take away will be that work will be totally unpredictable, more anarchic and more fun. Maybe.

I will also take self-styled Big Data guru Master Martyn Jones to task for writing:

“We have been told and time again that the major difference between a data scientist and professional statistician is that the ‘scientists’ know how to cope very well with massive volumes, varieties and velocities of data. Now it turns out that this is also questionable.”

This was a very irresponsible thing to write and I am glad that LinkedIn has found fit to censor him for such a biased and unhelpful views.

We must do Big Data because our competitors are doing it

Chances are, if your competitors are doing Big Data, then you need to as well.

Alternative, if your competitors are doing Big Data, and they are not very good at being a competitor, then you can probably and safely ignore the fact they are wasting their cash, effort and time on chasing a red herring. Better still, go over to their place and express serious concern that they are stealing a serious march on you. Make ‘em spend even more cash, waste even more time and take their patience to its limits.

There is a third possibility, which I shall not dwell on here. But basically it’s this: what if it’s neither one thing nor another?

You have been warned.

Before Big Data we knew nothing

It’s true, before Big Data and Big Data gurus came along we were all as dumb as rocks. We just used to sit around all day, discuss Mel Brook’s movies, hit the ground with stick and point at the sun, and say things like “hot”, “hungry” and “hey, are there ladies here?” (Sorry, Mel, I stole your lines) Yes, we were that dumb. Fortunately data in all its volumes, varieties and velocities came along and saved us from our advanced state of collective Dummytude.

That said, there was nascent movement of a much reduced minority that dabbled in marginal things such as report program generation, Management Information Systems, Executive Information Systems, End User Computing and Analysis and Reporting, Information Centres, Data Warehousing and OLAP, etc. etc. etc. But they didn’t achieve much traction and were derided by those who, whilst not knowing any better, had more deeply-ingrained prejudices.

That said, who is to say that, given the right kind of direction that one never finds on earth, we could have done better with what we were given. Assuming, that is, we were given anything that we could identify, recognize and understand to begin with.

Big Data Success Stories are real and verifiable

As anyone who is anyone knows, Big Data success stories are real, tangible and totally verifiable. I don’t just mean the Amazons, Googles, Zalandos, Twitters, Facebooks, Amazons, Googles, YouTubes, Amazons, and Googles of the world either. There is a veritable surfeit of true-life, practical and personalized Big Data success stories just waiting to be unleashed on the general public. When the time is right, when we know enough not to be spooked, when we are mature enough to face the reality. Big Data is us! All hail the Big Data abundance!

That said, Big Data stories are not currently real and verifiable because we are in a state of alert, what with all the political, social and security issues going down in the world. So we won’t be told what’s going on with Big Data at Kilkenny Deep Fried Chicken Cats because it’s a question of National Security and this is in the purview of the Head of Steak State.

That said, forget what I said before, and erase what I wrote just now, because it was all made up – well, actually not, but treat it as such. Seriously! If not, you are unpatriotic, uncaring and you, well… and will miss out on the Big Data bonanza, when it happens, and in the meantime, the Big Data god will be strangling kittens, and all because of you.

Data is like a drug and Big Data is like ice

Well, this is just a fact of life, no need to alarm anyone. The thing, if you are a data professional and you want to really get your client hooked on data then hit ‘em with Big Data, the methamphetamine of the data world. Once they do Big Data there is no going back and they will love you for it.

But there is an upside. If instead of thinking of ice as a bad good thing, you associate it with data, then you will eventually be able to get your client to do more upmarket things with regular and vintage data that they couldn’t possibly do whilst working under the influence of Big Data.

However, there is an alternative view. You can avoid the whole cycle that either leads to Data Abusers Anonymous or the Too Dumb for Data Society, or chose a half-way house to be found in the sanctuary of Data Warehousing the Sensible Way. It’s a life-style choice, just chose the one that is right for you and yours. Simples!

Big Data is about Data Volumes, Varieties and Velocities

Apologies to Gartner’s Doug Laney, but someone had to say this.

As everyone who is anyone will know, Big Data is about data volumes, varieties and velocities, and that is an incontrovertible fact that cannot be ignored or denied.

Conversely, as everyone knows, Big Data is not essentially or even particularly about data volumes, varieties and velocities, and that is an incontrovertible fact that cannot be ignored or denied.

That said, we cannot be too sure at that this if indeed Big Data is, or is not, essentially or even particularly about data volumes, varieties and velocities, and that is an incontrovertible fact that cannot be ignored or denied.

The only thing that we know for sure is that Big Data involves a lot of Vs. Always, sometimes or never.

Big Data contains nuggets of real gold

If you don’t believe that nuggets of gold can be found in repositories of Big Data then you are an incorrigible cynic, a feckless bounder and a consummate cad, and I will unfriend you on Facebook. Of course, gold can be found in Big Data. Everyone knows that. The rich man, the poor man, the girl next door and the shop on the corner know that. Even the dogs up the trees in Dublin know that. So, why deny it Big Data Golden Nugget Deniers?!?!?!

That said, there is an element of ‘all that glitters is (perhaps, maybe, might… not be) gold’ to all of this.

Conversely, Big Data might be a mix of pure gold and fool’s gold, together with some grains of sand and ‘stuff’.

Who knows? We live in a postmodern world, and anything is possible, even immortality itself. It’s all there, written in the Big Data. Oh, you good-for-nothing unbelievers!

That’s all folks

I have nothing more to add. Apart from this.

I have nothing more to add. Oh, and this…

 

Many thanks for reading.

As always, please share your questions, views and criticisms on this piece using the comment box below. I frequently write about strategy, organisational leadership and information technology topics, trends and tendencies. You are more than welcome to keep up with my posts by clicking the ‘Follow’ link and perhaps even send me a LinkedIn invite. Also feel free to connect via Twitter,Facebook and the Cambriano Energy website.

 

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